Super Bowl LIII Preview & Prediction

The Falcons aren’t in the Super Bowl this year, but the Super Bowl is in Atlanta!

The best online sportsbooks had Tom Terrific and the New England Patriots opening at -1, but they are now listed as 2.5-point favorites over the Double-G (Goff & Gurley) and the Los Angeles Rams. Is this a fair number? Let’s break it down.

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Super Bowl LIII Stats Comparison

Headlines keep calling this a ‘rematch of the 2002 title game’. In a lot of ways, it’s a ridiculous statement. That was 16 years ago, and the only thing that is the same about these two teams is Brady and Belichick…

That said, there are some similarities with the Rams. Back then they had a fantastic QB-RB duo in Kurt Warner and Marshall Faulk. Today they have Goff and Gurley. Jared Goff has 4,688 yards and 32 TDs. Kurt Warner finished out with 4,830 yards and 36 TDs. Marshall Faulk had a 1382-yard season with 12 TDs and 5.3 per carry. Todd Gurley has racked up 1251 yards with 17 TDs on 4.9 per carry. After this year’s Super Bowl plays out the numbers are likely to be near identical.

The Rams had the best offense in the league. They were unstoppable. Yet, the Pats beat them 20-17. 

Pats vs. Rams

The Los Angeles Rams have the No. 2 offense this time around, scoring 32 points per game. This goes against the Patriots No. 4 offense, which puts up 28.56 on average. Passing-wise the two teams are comparable. The Rams are No. 5 in the league, while Brady’s passing offense is No. 6. And LA holds an edge in rushing. They pound the rock for 143.4 yards a game (3rd in the league) compared to the Patriots 131.56 (5th ranked).

Despite the massive presence of Suh and Donald, the Rams are just the No. 19 defense when it comes to total score. This could be problematic against the Patriot offense that is No. 2 in the league in time on the field. Tom Brady slowly and methodically runs his offense and wears the opposing defense down. Because the offense is so good at staying on the field, it keeps the Patriots defense off the field. The New England defense ranks No. 1 in the NFL for time on the field. It’s nuances like these that a lot of people overlook when comparing teams.

Let’s pop back to the strength of both of these teams: the run game. The Rams are about 12 yards better per game than the Patriots. But, the Pats only allow 103.6 yards per game compared to the Rams 114.2. So, don’t expect the Rams to outshine the Pats too much in that department. The average rushing differential is only about 1-yard. 

In the seven times that these two teams have met, the Patriots have walked away as the victors in five of them. Though, we shouldn’t put too much stock into those types of stats because the sample size is small and spread out. The last time that the Pats and Rams clashed was in December of 2016, and before that was October of 2012. 

What It Comes Down To

The Patriots have been better at keeping points off the board this season, but given LA’s high-power offense, that is a wash. What it comes down to is Brady vs. Goff and who is going to command their team and lead them to victory. Of course, with all of the young talent on this Rams team, they could steal the win. But Tom Brady might be the most clutch player the NFL has ever seen. He simply doesn’t crack under pressure. He has double-digit final drive comeback wins in the playoffs. And as we mentioned above, the Patriots spend a lot of time on field. Late in the game, the Pats running game should take over.

Super Bowl LIII Prediction: Take the Patriots to win and cover -2.5.

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